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Author Topic: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??  (Read 4733 times)

Zepp

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Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2011, 01:22:04 PM »
"To this day, pro-se plaintiffs harass large corporations with incomprehensible filings requiring responses that you first have to figure out what the heck they're talking about before you can even start to respond with a legal argument."

If a meritless lawsuit is filed the Court is supposed to deal with it. In my experience pro se plaintiffs may have a good case but get bogged down with civil procedure. So what would you propose, barring pro se filers? As far as corporations paying off pro se plaintiffs with meritless claims that is a myth put out by shills like the Chamber of Commerce. Next you are going tell tell me that old saw about MacDonalds coffee lawsuit. Meritless cases do not make it trial and run away jury awards get knocked out or down in the appellate courts yet the corporations keep up the same old whine about how they are getting raped in the courts. Sort of like Newt claiming the federal courts are packed with judicial activists when we have the most conservative judiciary possible and a conservative majority in Supreme Court that is out of touch with reality. And don't even ask me about insurance companies, what a bunch of crooks.

Yes, the courts should take care of meritless law suits, but as with everything, it takes time, and money on the part of the defendant (and no, I am quite aware of the McDonalds coffee case, and that is not what I am taking about).  I was in court once when a judge asked a pro-se plaintiff why he thinks he has the right to sue a particular defendant.  Rather than coming up with a justification to his claim, his response was "I have a right to drag anyone that I want into court."  And no, it is myth that corporations pay off meritless suits because they cost too much (perhaps you should google "serial litigants" and ""vexatious litigants"?).  If someone sues a large corporation for $4999 in small claims court, do you think the corporation gets a break on attorney fees because it's only $4999?  And just because a case has never makes it to trial doesn't mean it doesn't cost money.  How much do you think it costs a company to pay their attorneys for a simple Motion to Dismiss?  First their attorney needs read the complaint.  Figuring it's only a page long on facts, you figure it could take an hour to read and anaylize and try to figure out what exactly that pro-se plaintiff is claiming.  Well, the jurisdiction you're in requires you contact the opposing side before filing any motion to see if they consent.  So you review everything one more time.  Do a little factual research to get the background and details of the case, and call the plaintiff to discuss the case and how much it would cost to make them go away.  Chalk up another hour.  Then you have to write the motion to dismiss.  We'll assume that you can pull the most basic parts of it off something someone else already wrote, so perhaps you only spend two hours writing the MtD.  So you file.  Add courier costs, because your local court doesn't have electronic filing.  Plaintiff files his Opposition.  You now have to reply.  We'll say that takes an hour.  Caulk up another courier fee.  Next, since it's pro-se, the judge will probably have a hearing, to make sure the person gets his day in court, and he tweaks out any possible legitimate complaint the person may have.  Probably not there, but courts do give pro-se plaintiffs wiggle room.  For something of this nature, I will probably be a morning cattle call, so you could be waiting in the courtroom for as little as 5 minutes, to as long as 4 hours before the judge gets to your case (plus travel time).  Let's add that up.  1 hour reviewing the complaint, another hour for research and telephone call.  3 total hours drafting, and we'll say 2 hours in court.  So we're probably at a minimum of 7 hours spent, plus courier fees.  So let's assume they put a 1st year associate on the case with no supervision whatsoever (yeah, that's likely to happen).  They just spent at least $1400 plus courier fees of let's just guess $100 for a meritless claim.  So at this point the judge has to choose if it is genuinely meritless, or perhaps if he could prove some of the wild accusations, he might have a case.  If you're lucky, the judge will dismiss.  But even then, what if the plaintiff files an appeal.  There goes another $1500 or so.  Now they've almost spent as much money as the guy sued for.  But what if the judge was generous, and things they may have a possible case, if they prove their baseless accusations.  Now you're really screwed because you have to pay to at least draft some interrogatories or requsts for admissions to see if you can build up to a Motion for Summary Judgment.  Another Reply.  Another hearing.  More money.  You finally win....but he appeals.  More money.  Sure, we're not talking about a million dollar case here.  But these cases aren't rare, and the costs do add up. 

The solution?  Well, you certainly can't ban pro-se litigants.  Perhaps we should follow the British system, and the loser pays the winners attorney fees if the case is determined to have no merit or the person is a serial litigant.
GULC 2010 Cum Laude

InterAlia1961

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Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
« Reply #31 on: December 23, 2011, 04:43:15 PM »
Yawn. Yawn + 1 for my pal Falcon Jimmy. You make your argument well, but I'm beginning to think it's the only argument you know how to make. We get it-- you don't like digitally delivered law education. So, why do you bother to post here? No one else will let you play in their sandbox?
 ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)
'Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.' ~Arthur Clarke

Opie58

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Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2011, 04:52:43 PM »


And when you turn on the TV and see police walking up to peaceful protesters sitting on the gournd, and spraying them with pepperspray, and then just walking away, those images can go a long way to reinforce that image. 


Are you referring to this incident at UCDavis?  You can't always believe everything someone tells you at first - you usually don't get all the facts up front, just the version they WANT you to believe.  Instead of basing your opinion on a highly edited 8 minute version intended to discredit police, watch this more true 15+ minute version about what and how it really happened cops with arrestees, attempting to leave the area with their prisoners, being surrounded by the crowd who refused to allow the police to pass demanding the prisoners be release.  http://youtu.be/hhPdH3wE0_Y.  They don't look too peaceful to me.  One thing I learnt about the media - don't believe most anything they tell you.  According to CNN 20 years ago, I, along with 600+ USAF personnel, were killed by a volcanic eruption in the Philippines - guess that wasn't true - but thanks to them several families went through hell on that one.  I had hoped for better homework (research).

jonlevy

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Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2011, 07:25:12 PM »
"If someone sues a large corporation for $4999 in small claims court, do you think the corporation gets a break on attorney fees because it's only $4999?"

Have you ever tried to sue a large corporation in small claims or any other court and have them pop open a check book?  They have insurance dude and the insurer has attorneys on retainer, it doesn't cost the corporation anything more than what they paid already and the insurer doesn't care either as long as they can teach someone not to mess with them, they don't care how much it costs to defend. I did sue Ford once, they settled only becuaue their insurance retained attorney missed the filing deadline and defaulted, the judge told them to go settle,  otherwise I am sure they would have been only to glad to spin it out. Somehow I don't think you are a member of the plaintiffs' bar. Under your scenario we would all get rich slowly suing corporations in small claims court for a third of the take.

Further, I still get the feeling you think most plaintiffs sue corporations for fun rather than because they have legitimate case. Vexatious litigants are quite rare since inmates had their access to federal court trimmed.

And I still don't get your argument about how DL schools lower standards, everyone still has to pass the same bar exam and in the end, passing the bar is all that counts and the difference between a law book salesman and an attorney unless you go to Harvard in which case you can become a law professor if you can't pass the bar.

DiscoveryPhase

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Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2011, 11:10:57 PM »
LMU, a school featured in OP's posted article, was denied ABA provisional approval and has filed suit against the ABA.  On the one hand, I like the thought of having holes poked in the ABA and say go LMU.  On the other hand, if they were truly concerned about serving the rural Appalachian area then they should have skipped accreditation and offered their classes online.  TN allows students of non-ABA approved but TN state approved schools to take their bar. 

As it stands now this TN potential law student is currently thinking about schools in CA.

jonlevy

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Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
« Reply #35 on: December 24, 2011, 09:57:48 AM »
As far as I know California, is the only state that recognizes online or correspondence law schools for an initial bar exam.  More states should do so, that would solve the problem of the ABA death grip. The DL haters like to point to Orly Taitz however she litigates only a single issue and really does not have a law practice. She was a candidate for California Secretary of State and is running for the Senate. She was sanctioned one-time by a federal judge who in my opinion dodn't exactly adhere to the federal rules in doing so. She is not disbarred or disciplined. pretty good for super high risk in your face litigation.  I might point out Melvin Belli, Tony Serra and F. Lee Bailey had their issues with state bars as well. Great attorneys all!

What is everyone so afraid of anyway. A few more DL attorneys here and there? Or does the ABA fear having its death grip broken?

DiscoveryPhase

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Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
« Reply #36 on: December 24, 2011, 10:23:12 AM »
One way to lessen the power of the ABA would be to start a "competing" accreditation body and then LOBBY hard all the states to have members of schools that received their stamp of approval to take their state's bar.  This body would accredit online/distance learning schools - in my dream world :) 

ABA has escaped anti-trust claims in the past based on the fact that it's really up to each state, and the vast majority of state's just so happen to only allow ABA-approved school grads to take their bar.

jonlevy

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Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
« Reply #37 on: December 24, 2011, 11:19:53 AM »
Anybody know how many California and Alabama attorneys graduated from non ABA schools? That would be the natural constituency to start an alternative ABA from.

FalconJimmy

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Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
« Reply #38 on: December 24, 2011, 01:43:13 PM »
Yawn. Yawn + 1 for my pal Falcon Jimmy. You make your argument well, but I'm beginning to think it's the only argument you know how to make. We get it-- you don't like digitally delivered law education. So, why do you bother to post here? No one else will let you play in their sandbox?
 ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)

Yes, your aversion to anything that doesn't reinforce your fantasy is well documented and noted.  However, others may not be quite as willing to embark on a likely frutiless endeavor if they have enough information.  If it isn't for you, it isn't for you.  Ignore it and live long and prosper.

FalconJimmy

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Re: Correlation Between High Tuition Costs & Affordable Legal Assistance??
« Reply #39 on: December 24, 2011, 01:53:25 PM »
One way to lessen the power of the ABA would be to start a "competing" accreditation body and then LOBBY hard all the states to have members of schools that received their stamp of approval to take their state's bar.  This body would accredit online/distance learning schools - in my dream world :) 

That's really the only way you can "break" the ABA stranglehold.

However, keep in mind, as many DL advocates point it, the ABA's accreditation standards are currently under fire from congress.

But not for the reasons you think.  For the most part, congress wants the ABA to accredit FEWER schools.  So far, the ABA's position is that if you meet the standards, you should be accredited.

A similar battle was fought by DOs against MDs a while back.  That's your model.

Here's the problem, though.  If your argument is that DL and various unaccredited schools are just as good at educating students as ABA schools, the one area where this demonstrably falls flat is on bar passage rates. 

It's not enough just to say, "this education is every bit as good."  Unless you can show it somehow, it's not unreasonable to dismiss such assertions.

Already, the unaccredited schools have a foot in the hole.  They don't have the library facilities.  Not sure what they do as far as classroom hours.  So, a lot of things the ABA says are necessary for a good legal education are missing.

It is perfectly valid to counter, "Well, the ABA is wrong, those things are NOT required for a good legal education". 

Trouble is, when time comes to take the bar, the ABA schools are in a completely different universe than the schools that claim to be "just as good."

Close that gap on bar passage rate, and I think an alternative accrediation body would have a very, very legitimate argument. 

I think there's a lot of improvements that could be made.  I think a large library is a great resource to the legal community and others who need access to legal research material.  However, I think for the purposes of education, you could get everything you need via your laptop and you'd be just fine.

Ultimately, though, the argument for alternative accreditation standards should be, "it is just as good".  Right now, at best, the argument is, "once in a while, an exceptionally bright person choses to get their legal education this way... that person is by far the exception."